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The Cost of the US Government Shutdown To Science

Soulskill posted 1 year,10 days | from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.

Government 355

An anonymous reader writes "Richard Schiffman writes in The Guardian that the Republican-led shutdown of the U.S. government caused significant damage to many scientific programs. For example: shortly before the shutdown started, over a hundred scientists had gathered to perform critical equipment tests on the James Webb Space Telescope — Hubble's successor — and that work was unable to continue without the government around. 'Not only did this delay cost the program an estimated $1M a day, but, given NASA's tight schedule, some tests may never get done now.' It doesn't stop there: 'This is only one of untold thousands of projects that were mothballed when Congress's failure to approve a budget defunded the US government at the start of the month. Federal websites were taken offline, scientists couldn't receive emails, attend meetings, or interact with their colleagues. Crucial environmental, food safety and climate monitoring programs were either suspended, or substantially scaled back.' Schiffman provides a few more examples, including one project that's losing a year's worth of work and equipment that will end up buried under snow in Antarctica. But it goes beyond even the basic funding issues; in many cases, scientific work is simply too intertwined with the government to continue without it. Andrew Rosenberg, the director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' center for science and democracy, said, 'It is all so interconnected now. Federal researchers collect data that is utilized by researchers in academia, by people working in industry, at state and local levels, so when you ask how dependent are we on the federal government in terms of science, it's a bit like asking: do you need your left leg?'"

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Why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180433)

Did Obama let it happen?

Re:Why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180441)

because Ted Cruz touches himself at night.

Re:Why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180449)

because Ted Cruz touches himself at night.

No one touches you, ever.

Re:Why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180461)

i think abut you and touch myself

Re:Why? (1)

publiclurker (952615) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180487)

Why do you think you can still try to blame the victims?

Re:Why? (5, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180539)

The short answer is because the demands were unreasonable, and ending health care reform to appease a small minority of the country's demands doesn't make sense. The longer answer can be found in across a thousand other websites and is completely off-topic. Try going to another website if you're interested in talking about it. I mean, there's probably a youtube video related to the politics where you can get a vigorous text war going.

To redirect back on topic: why does it seem like everything the federal government does was declared "essential" and not affected EXCEPT for science? I don't hear a lot of discussion about what rules need to be changed for the next shutdown. Here's my suggestion: in the event of a shutdown, absolutely no congressional support services will be provided. No staffers can answer the phone from their congresspeople. No electricity in the capitol. No fucking gym open. No paychecks including back pay for congress persons. No security guards will be protecting the reps. None. Congressmen can hold meetings at a starbucks or something if they feel like it. Conversely, science research will absolutely not be affected.

I'd start a petition on change.org or writing a letter to congress urging that, but I think my time might better be spent wishing on a star.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180591)

why does it seem like everything the federal government does was declared "essential" and not affected EXCEPT for science?

Because making "Science!" unessential could be parlayed into news articles.

Face it, a news article about the fact that government bureacrats had to empty their own trash wouldn't have nearly the appeal of "This Science! project was delayed by two weeks, and some of it may NEVER be done now! It was going to cure death, but now we've lost any chance of that, thanks to those EVIL Republicans!!!"

Note that running the National Parks was also considered nonessential, even to the extent that a lot of EXTRA work was done to shut them down - I especially like the traffic cones blocking the highway shoulders OUTSIDE Mount Rushmore - only put up in places from which someone could pull off the road (outside the Park, remember?) to take photos of Mount Rushmore....

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180689)

People made hay out of the fact that shutdowns have happened many times in the past; it would stand to reason that if the shutdown was done improperly, you should be able to point to how it is different from other shutdowns.

Re:Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180733)

Note that running the National Parks was also considered nonessential, even to the extent that a lot of EXTRA work was done to shut them down

It costs money for a proper shutdown, you can't just walk away from a place, otherwise that's violating actual obligations to maintain the properties.

- I especially like the traffic cones blocking the highway shoulders OUTSIDE Mount Rushmore - only put up in places from which someone could pull off the road (outside the Park, remember?) to take photos of Mount Rushmore....

Actually, those traffic cones were put up for a safety issue, so people didn't just drive around willy nilly, but had lanes to use. Really, they weren't any kind of effective barrier, they were just a way to help people drive a little safer.

But do believe the story you've been fed about it.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180761)

"This Science! project was delayed by two weeks, and some of it may NEVER be done now! It was going to cure death, but now we've lost any chance of that, thanks to those EVIL Republicans!!!"

Eh. Science! wasn't the only thing closed, nor was it the only thing in the news. For instance, there was that tiny little office that decides what kinds of beer you can sell, that was threatening to keep all the microbreweries from selling their halloween and thanksgiving brews.

News here is that apparently the Tea Party was too busy grandstanding to pull the jesus dildo out their ass and fix the laws so people could get drunk without their approval. It remains to be seen if they'll act on reducing the size of government through eliminating regulatory bodies now that the crisis is over.

The reason why you're a moron (1, Flamebait)

shiftless (410350) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180717)

The short answer is because the demands were unreasonable, and ending health care reform to appease a small minority of the country's demands doesn't make sense.

Do you know why you're a moron? Or as Stalin would say, a "useful idiot"?

Because you actually believe it's only a "small minority" of the country who wants to get rid of Obamacare.

You believe this because it's convenient to your ego to believe it....but it has no basis in reality whatsoever.

At least half the fucking country wants to see Obamacare go. Even many idiot liberals who have been Obama cheerleaders for years, are starting to change their minds after getting their (greatly increased) Obamacare quote.

Why do you think the Obamacare web site doesn't work? On fucking purpose, so that masses of idiots will continue to believe in the narrative that everyone and their mom wants this fucking bullshit and it's only a "tiny minority" of "anarchists" and "extremists" which disagrees.

And of course this mistaken, idiotic belief will make it a lot easier for dumb asses like you to agree wholeheartedly when Obama decides to declare martial law and arrest the GOP.

Nazi Germany, part 2. Welcome to it......asshole. Are you ready to meet Jesus?

Re:The reason why you're a moron (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180739)

That's nice. If you want to remove it, pass it on the house, pass it in the senate, then have the president sign it.

Any other way is contrary to way our government works and is supposed to work.

Re:The reason why you're a moron (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180903)

Why do you think the Obamacare web site doesn't work? On fucking purpose, so that masses of idiots will continue to believe in the narrative that everyone and their mom wants this fucking bullshit and it's only a "tiny minority" of "anarchists" and "extremists" which disagrees.

That's likely.

Re:Why? (2)

Patent Lover (779809) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180811)

In their defense, the towel service at the gym was unavailable during the shutdown.

Re:Why? (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180867)

To redirect back on topic: why does it seem like everything the federal government does was declared "essential" and not affected EXCEPT for science?

Because the standard used for "essential" is "Would stopping this put life and limb into immediate jeopardy?" As you'll note from the constant complaints about science funding or the lack thereof, spending on scientific research and development is the epitome of a long term investment, which generally means that turning it off won't cause any immediate hospitalizations.

And everyone wants to see their own special interest declared "essential." The Tea Party wanted the exception to be certain war monuments, for example. Why is a space telescope more essential than, say, Head Start? This is how politics works.

Re:Why? (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180891)

How exactly are you going to strip congress of the authority to declare staff essential? Moreover, frankly congressmen being able to get information I'd consider a heck of a lot more essential than things that did remain open like air travel. If congress is cut off from their staff we don't have the capacity for the democracy to respond to new and changing information.

The shutdown is stupid. Let's not make it more stupid by breaking important stuff.

Re:Why? (1)

hallkbrdz (896248) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180731)

> Did Obama let it happen?

Let?

Congress - the House and the Senate must work together to pass a BUDGET before the current one expires. That is then signed into law by the current President.

This CR business is a real problem, and the Senate seems uninterested in actually doing to work to create one. Instead of normal, yearly budgets passed in the spring, in plenty of time - we just keep taking onto what we had the previous year in a "crisis" mode not long before 1 October. That honestly IS in a good part Obama's fault. The democrat held Senate has not passed a budget since April 2009! And democrats still had the majority in spring 2010, so no excuses there.

Re:Why? (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180919)

The Republicans like to point to this. But the way a budget into the Senate is for it to be a House Budget not a House Republican conference budget. That means it passes with wide bipartisan support not narrow partisan support. Which means negotiating with the committee co-chairs and Nancy Pelosi.

If that were happening I'd be onboard blaming Harry Reid. Otherwise it is just Republicans wondering why Democrats won't pass the Republican budget. Why would they?

Better model needed (5, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180445)

Science is too important to be dependent on a funding source that is 17 trillion dollars in debt. It's *all* going to dry up at some point, and probably rather suddenly when it does. Talk to the history department if this is unclear.

With all the great thinkers in science, perhaps research into better funding models would be worth the effort.

Re:Better model needed (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180525)

Kickstarter!

Re:Better model needed (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180743)

There are actually some crowdfunding tools out there. One issue is that it's hard to explain highly technical experiments within the required 6 pages or so for a grant, let alone something that a crowd would be willing to read. Another issue is that a lot of basic research has no payoffs that are certain, which seems important for kickstarter. You can't exactly promise beta access to the data to an experiment which may not yield results.

Also, just putting this out there, and sorry if it ruffles any feathers, but funding from the federal government is still more reliable than crowdfunding. At the very least, if the debt catches up to us and "dries up," I'm thinking it will be more likely that I'll be trying to crowdfund my next meal than I would be trying to crowdfund a research project.

Re:Better model needed (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180535)

The answer is to find a better model for how government operates. 17 trillion is a problem for more than just science. And shutting down government in order to make a political statement is flat out deranged.

Re:Better model needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180641)

I'll bite. The current people spending like crazy won't even talk about responsible spending, they won't even talk.

What would be your suggestion to make them at least listen to options to become responsible? In the last 5 years, government shutdown or threat of shutdown has been the only way to reduce any spending at all, it was called the sequestor.

There are millions of people out there that would like to hear a suggestion that might get a result other than shutdown, but so far that is the only thing that has produced results at all.

Re:Better model needed (1)

rmstar (114746) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180793)

In the last 5 years, government shutdown or threat of shutdown has been the only way to reduce any spending at all, it was called the sequestor.

Thinking of spending without thinking of revenue is just plain stupid.

Government shutdown, by hurting revenues, actually increases deficit and exacerbates the problem.

Re:Better model needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180801)

There are millions of people out there that would like to hear a suggestion that might get a result other than shutdown, but so far that is the only thing that has produced results at all.

The tea party could start cutting government any day now, simply by eliminating regulations and the government offices that enforce them. Since it's hot in the news from the shutdown, they could start on the law that says the government has to approve whatever flavor of beer you're selling. There's plenty of organizations that are just there to tell people "no", and everyone hates being told "no". Closing them would be a political no-brainer. You close a few, build up momentum, then keep going.

Chances are, though, the tea party is perfectly happy with telling other people what they can drink and smoke. They gave up on fiscal restraint to appease the bible belt.

Re:Better model needed (5, Insightful)

rmstar (114746) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180765)

The answer is to find a better model for how government operates. 17 trillion is a problem for more than just science.

17 trillion dollars sounds like a shipload of money, but you have to put in perspective: It's not that much compared with the GDP of the US. Given how gigantic the US is in terms of assets and operations, and in political and economic power, 17 trillion is quite ok.

The biggest structural problem the US has is its insane right. The debt ceiling standoff was very, very dangerous, far more dangerous than even 20 trillion $ of debt would be. It would have taken very little additional bad luck to triger a financial calamity of biblical proportions.

Re:Better model needed (1)

jcr (53032) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180553)

Bingo. I couldn't agree with you more.

Even more than the fiscal unreliability, the big problem with government funding is that it makes science a political football, with brain-dead demagogues getting to decide what is and isn't studied according to their religion.

-jcr

Re:Better model needed (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180577)

And the alternative - corporate funded research - is immune from financial instability and PBHs deciding what is and isn't studied?

Re:Better model needed (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180767)

And the alternative - corporate funded research - is immune from financial instability and PBHs deciding what is and isn't studied?

*The* alternative? Nobody could think up something better? We have lots of smart people on this planet - I'm hopeful that somebody can think up a way to fund science that involves neither one nor 435 PHB's making such decisions.

Re:Better model needed (2)

M. Baranczak (726671) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180939)

If somebody gives you money to do something, there's always the risk that they'll try to stick their noses in. Doesn't matter if it's a government, a corporation, or an eccentric billionaire.

You could go around to rich people's homes, steal all their money, and use that to fund your research. The rich people would have absolutely no way to interfere with your research. You'd be your own boss. There are some moral problems with this approach, which I frankly think are overblown, but the bigger problem is the logistical side: rich people are very good at holding on to their money, that's why they're rich. Robbing them is hard work. Scientists already waste a lot of time trying to secure grants - now they'll have to waste even more time buying guns and dynamite, and serving the occasional prison sentence. The current system looks pretty good in comparison.

Re:Better model needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180625)

Talk about blaming the victims. There are plenty of solutions, but unfortunately most of them don't result in the richest of the rich getting to steal even more of the nation's wealth.

Re:Better model needed (2)

green is the enemy (3021751) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180637)

The funding problem seems to be harder than the science itself nowadays. There's so much science and technology research we could be doing, but aren't, or at a very slow pace. The main issue is finding funding for fundamental research (for which applications haven't yet been found) and research with a very long payoff period. Historically, this is the type of research that has enabled the bulk of our rapid progress in the last couple of centuries. However, governments around the world are under pressure to cut spending, and this research is slowly but steadily being cut. I think this is a side-effect of the long period of peace we have been enjoying. Now, even the cold war has ended. It seriously looks like our progress will stagnate pretty soon.

Anyone have suggestions on how to improve the funding situation? A sadistic suggestion might be "start a world war," but modern weapons make this pretty much infeasible.

Re:Better model needed (1)

hallkbrdz (896248) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180773)

Exactly.

The answer is first SHRINK IT. Then bin the horrible excuse of an income tax and replace it with a national sales tax so everyone pays tax.

Look at this list of departments and agencies and tell me you have even a clue at what half of these do for us taxpayers - and how they don't overlap other federal or state agencies. The size of the federal government is obese and needs to be put on a diet. Simply getting rid of departments and agencies that do not have to be at the federal level would be a good starting place (e.g. Dept of Education). Others like pure science, NASA, etc. should remain at the federal level.

http://www.usa.gov/directory/federal/ [usa.gov]

Re:Better model needed (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180845)

Maybe you could site a reference? Also the use of "funding", that alone shows the sand under your knowledge base. The easiest way to understand something is to try and do it. And maybe who knows, you'll find the cure for Farm Subsidy Entitlements, (a.k.a. FSE)? There's also a need to find a cure for Oil Industry Entitlements, and Hedge Fund Manager Entitlements. Be the first?

Re:Better model needed (2)

GryMor (88799) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180853)

17 trillion in debt, borrowed at negative effective interest rates... I need problems like that.

Re:Better model needed (3, Informative)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180937)

That funding source also has the unlimited ability to print money. And there is no source more viable than the government.

Thank you (3, Insightful)

careysb (566113) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180455)

Thank you G.O.P. and the Tea Party

Re:Thank you (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180495)

You're welcome. Please remember to vote in 2014 and 2016.

Re:Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180565)

And now it becomes clear why the intelligentsia tend to favor big-government statists. They're simply "too intertwined" with the government and they'd starve without government spending. Stop scientific welfare now.

Re:Thank you (1)

mark_reh (2015546) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180609)

Right! After all, we don't get anything from those leeches...

Re:Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180703)

Do you think Monsanto researchers manage to find results favorable to Monsanto? Do you think government-funded researchers find results favorable to the government?

Scientists dependent on federal dollars to feed them are going to vote for people who fund their meal tickets.

Re:Thank you (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180507)

Obama [youtube.com] : Its unpatriotic to blindly increase the debt limit without dealing with spending.

I believe the GOP was just following Obama's words of wisdom.

Re:Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180511)

You act as if this was a one-sided argument.

Re:Thank you (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180771)

There are multiple conversations. You might be thinking of the small vs big government argument. However, realize that's not the conversation that actually lead to the shutdown. The GOP reps in the house aren't actual small government types. The closest thing is "starve the beast" republicans which is simply code for "Cut taxes on my benefactors and leave cutting spending to someone else."

In other words, yes, the conversation that lead to the shutdown was one sided. There could have been two sides to it, but one side got crowded out by billionaire funded insanity. Take back control of your party from the tea party. I'm a hardcore liberal, but I'd welcome a real two sided argument in Washington any day over what we have now.

Re:Thank you (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180527)

Special shout out to Reid and Obama who refused to negotiate with the GOP and threw a tempter tantrum unless they got their way.

Oh and super special shout out to Reid and Obama who've refused to pass a CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATED BUDGET for 3 years since the Republicans have held the house and forcing the budget from 2009, which contains all the billions of above and beyond economic stimulus funding to save the economy in 2009.

(Which still, btw, isn't saved...)

Re:Thank you (4, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180599)

> CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATED BUDGET

The idea that Congress is constitutionally mandated to prepare a budget is one of many tea party memes that is easily debunked. The fact is the word budget doesn't even appear in the Constitution. Here's what factcheck.org has to say about it:

http://www.factcheck.org/2013/03/palins-constitutional-stretch/ [factcheck.org]

Here is what the Constitution says about it:

Article I, Section 9, Clause 7: No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

In addition, as John McCain recently pointed out, Congress has not followed a basic budgeting process for 20 years. Your attempt to stick this on Obama and Reid is moronic and unjustified by any reference in the Constitution.

Re:Thank you (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180905)

Poor AC, "all or nothing" is not negotiation.

Re:Thank you (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180533)

A characteristic of unsuccessful people is the inability to "delay gratification." Or put another way, they don't understand the concept of "pay now, play later."

Our government has fallen into the same trap. Addicted to spending, they sacrifice the future for the present, buying votes with money they don't have, implementing poorly thought out policies that bankrupt this country's coffers and spirit.

If you think this shutdown was bad, just imagine how bad it will be when the dollar loses reserve currency status. Then you'll really see a government shutdown.

Re:Thank you (0)

tompaulco (629533) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180541)

It takes two to tango.

Re:Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180707)

Exactly, you can't have a rapist without a victim. You can't have a hostage situation without a hostage and someone to hold them captive? Now can you?

Captcha: Campaign

Re:Thank you (1)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180847)

That is one of the harsher descriptions of Obamacare that I've seen.

Re:Thank you (1)

jcr (53032) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180561)

Don't forget the other brand of the Ruling Party. Their responsibility for the debacle is exactly the same.

-jcr

Re:Thank you (1)

gtall (79522) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180759)

For this G.O.P. and Tea Party, the cut back in research is considered a victory, not the least that climate research has been cut back. They and their fellow travelers, the Libertarians, have no use for government funded research.

As for finding other sources of funding, nothing comparable to the fed. dollars is on the horizon anywhere.

Re:Thank you (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180879)

I think the Tea Party might find more enjoyment by using another host?

Living paycheck to paycheck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180471)

These projects should put 1% aside starting on day 1 until they have a buffer that can let them survive 17 days without funding.

Re:Living paycheck to paycheck? (2)

trdtaylor (2664195) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180501)

You and third world dictators love their slushfunds. Government auditors don't though.

Re:Living paycheck to paycheck? (1)

publiclurker (952615) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180513)

Won't work. Then you would have the economically ignorant teabaggers claiming that they are betting too much money since they were able to sock away this slush fund. A fund that is uncountably going to be used to some nefarious motives like healthcare to minorities.

Re:Living paycheck to paycheck? (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180555)

"Not having money" wasn't even the problem here. A shutdown means that they're not authorized to operate at all.

Except for the NSA, because they provide an essential service.

Re:Living paycheck to paycheck? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180627)

that's not how the government shutdown in USA style works.

they might have their budgeted money on their accounts. they just would't be allowed to spend it - because the shutdown wouldn't have the same negotiating aspect otherwise. it's just all games and a symptom about how dysfunctional the system is.

Re:Living paycheck to paycheck? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180921)

And who prints the money?

Who needs a left leg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180475)

I've spent the last 30 years without a left leg, you insensitive clod....

Re:Who needs a left leg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180491)

Your left or my left?

Re:Who needs a left leg? (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180605)

Mr. Spigot? [youtube.com]

I've nothing against your right leg... unfortunately, neither have you.

Re:Who needs a left leg? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180933)

Damn, coffee all over my keyborad, damn.

If science is this intertwined with govt. money (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180479)

How intertwined is it with government politics and, worse, "outcome based research'?

Ta Da (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180529)

You can thank your local friendly* republican party for the pleasure.

* to their own business only

Re:Ta Da (3, Insightful)

tompaulco (629533) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180551)

Wow, the article actually correctly used the technique of "begging the question" by starting with the assumption that everything is the Republicans fault, even though neither side could reach an agreement. And of course, Slashdot, is more than happy to take the bait and run, of course.

Re:Ta Da (1)

mark_reh (2015546) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180633)

This topic has been beaten to death everywhere. The only place where the Republicans look innocent is Fox news.
There was no agreement to be reached except that the dopes in DC should do their jobs. Finally, the children realized they were starting to look bad and did something about it.

Re:Ta Da (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180649)

It says "Republican-led," which is an accurate statement. It doesn't mention the Democrats, Libertarians, Green, Independent, and whatever other club association was also involved, because it was led by the Republicans who have voted eleventy zillion times to defund public healthcare and continuously talked about how their only goal in their political lives are to stop the Affordable Care Act (which is always called Obamacare because that makes it more evil).

Re:Ta Da (5, Insightful)

thrich81 (1357561) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180653)

The thing is, the majority of all the representatives in both houses of Congress were able to reach agreement once the requirement was dropped that the agreement had to have the support of a majority of the Republicans. This is where the system broke down -- a minority of all the representatives could force a shutdown over the wishes of the majority because the (not defined anywhere in the Constitution) 'rules' of the House allowed a smaller group to enforce their wishes on the majority. Why did they do this? Because the pro-shutdown group could not win enough elections across the country to set policy the way they wanted it, so instead they thought shutdown and default were legitimate tactics. That is all on the Republicans. As the President stated afterward -- if you want to legitimately set policy, go out and win some elections!

Re:Ta Da (1)

msauve (701917) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180715)

" the (not defined anywhere in the Constitution) 'rules' of the House allowed a smaller group to enforce their wishes"

That's like saying "the laws aren't defined in the Constitution." It's a red herring. The rules (no need to put that word in quotes, acting as if they're illegitimate) are in full accord with the Constitution: "Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings..." Article 1, Section 5.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180545)

The extremely partisan government removes funding for the scientific community for the equivalent of a blink of the eye and your entire life is ruined...

I think you have done more to prove the tea party's point about big government being dangerous. Tell me how living with an entity that is holding a gun to your head at all hours and has a proven history of being a soulless uncaring imbecile is the optimal outcome?

This reminds me of the legalization of gay marriage. Everyone had a raging debate over it yea or nay...no one seemed to ask why the governments opinion mattered at all.

The fundamental problem (4, Insightful)

cowwoc2001 (976892) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180547)

Is that the government is spending too much money. It doesn't matter how you try to spin this, the fact of the matter is they need to start cutting costs.

Notice I'm not blaming one party over another. I just think the American people are doing a disservice to themselves when they accept mud-slinging in order to distract them from this fact. Keep your eye on the ball and demand that *any* party that is elected into power balance the budget and start paying back the debt.

Re:The fundamental problem (1)

gtall (79522) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180929)

Yes, the government spends too much, but it is a large government and can walk and chew gum at the same time. 2/3's of the budget is entitlements. Even SS is now in the red every year. It still has its trust fund, but those are government I.O.U.s. The government has to borrow when those get cashed.

From The Congressional Research Service: Federal Research and Development Funding, FY2012 research funding was $138.869 Billion (actually a lot higher than I figured). Obama requested for FY2013 $140.820 Billion. That was broken down into: seven federal agencies would receive 95.8% of total federal R&D funding, with the Department of Defense (50.6%) and the Department of Health and Human Services (22.3%, primarily for the National Institutes of Health) accounting for nearly three-fourths of all R&D funding. Also, Defense tends to do a lot of research in the health sciences to mitigate the cost of was on individual bodies, and there is the spinoffs into the civilian economy of military research.

Obama didn't get all that, I'm unsure what Congress approved but since sequester and 2013's CR, we can assume the research for 2013 was somewhat south of $138.869 Billion. The 2013 deficit from the Congressional Budget Office isn't out yet because of the shutdown, but they were forecasting a deficit of $642 billion.

Total foreign aid for 2012 was about $48 Billion (from the State Dept.'s Executive Budget Summary FUNCTION 150 & OTHER INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS). The Obama's request for the Defense Dept. for 2012 was $553 billion, which doesn't include the sequester or the CR which ran 2012's budget, so that total was south of that.

The consequence is that if we completely whack the Defense Dept. and Science funding, we could just about cover the yearly deficit....except that it won't in the future. Economists expect the budget deficit to drift downward for the next 4 years and then spiral up as the Blue Haired really start demanding their several pounds of flesh from the rest. And whacking Defense and Science will have effects throughout the economy, not least of which losing control of the shipping lanes to some rather unsavory international characters. Also, whacking Defense tends to knock pts off the GDP so that will cause the deficit to reappear. Whacking science similarly except the effect gets greater the farther into the future one looks.

Can someone explain why websites were down? (1)

OzPeter (195038) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180557)

Can someone explain why websites were taken down during the shutdown? I would have thought that the expenditure needed to keep a site up and running would already have been paid in advance, and that the sites were not so fragile that they could have withstood 2 weeks unattended operation.

Was it a precautionary or political matter?

Re:Can someone explain why websites were down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180617)

Because they could, and they wanted the public to get pissed and blame the wrong people.

Re:Can someone explain why websites were down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180635)

Because they are a bunch of whiners, that can only think of extortion as a reason why thy should be funded.
For example NASA streaming there "we-can't-stream-the-live-SSI-feeds-because-we-are-so-broke-message" feed on U-stream, without actually cutting the up/down-links to the US part of the space station for a few weeks. They deserve a permanently budget-cut.
Space-X can now claim to be longer in continues operation than NASA.

Re:Can someone explain why websites were down? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180747)

I trust then that when you say "they" you mean obama, right? Because he ordered that websites be taken down to maximize the impact of the shutdown, even though it cost more to take them down than to leave them up.

Re:Can someone explain why websites were down? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180669)

If you ran a popular public-facing website, would you allow all of your sysadmins and network folks to take a two week vacation simultaneously? And do you pay those people, as well as the power company and bandwidth providers, up front? :)

Then again, they weren't down; they just served different content, so that is the part that confuses me. If they were going to keep the sites up anyway, why actively remove the content unless it was for political emphasis of the shutdown (like barricading national parks)? I'm confident that this is your answer.

Re:Can someone explain why websites were down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180677)

If you are on call for a website, and aren't being paid, wouldn't you want to make that point clear to the visitors?

Re:Can someone explain why websites were down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180725)

USA Today [usatoday.com] , amongst others, are saying not only are the employees geting paid for their two weeks off, but they are also able to collect unemployment benefits on top. Thats up to 150% of their normal pay.

I would hardly call that being unpaid.

Re:Can someone explain why websites were down? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180709)

Because if Skynet had infiltrated the government web servers, then no one would have been around to spread the alarm.

Jeez, you Australians just don't understand risk management, do you?

Re:Can someone explain why websites were down? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180711)

I would have thought that the expenditure needed to keep a site up and running would already have been paid in advance, and that the sites were not so fragile that they could have withstood 2 weeks unattended operation.

What? You should be checking sites several times a day. Hopefully, via an automated system... which you're going to have to check up on periodically.

Re:Can someone explain why websites were down? (1)

Patent Lover (779809) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180839)

Which ones were down? I saw a few that weren't updated, but none that were outright down. JPL's was up, for example.

Re:Can someone explain why websites were down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180913)

They took down the website for amberalert.gov until that received too much negative press.

vi duy (-1, Offtopic)

Duy Vi Van (3403405) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180569)

thiet ke biet thu [thietkebietthudep.tin.vn]

A government contractor here (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180597)

During the shutdown we were operating at 1/10th of the staff for our agency. No problems. All administrative and computer work was done on time, efficiently and the best thing about it -- the office was so much quieter. Kinda begs a question: Is it really necessary to maintain so many employees plus an employee union for any organizations in the Federal government if most of the days they do nothing but talk, drink coffee, browse web and watch movies?

websites down??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180679)

why would websites be taken down immediately??? does someone have to sit there and update them every day manually?? are they so unstable that they have to be monitored 24/7?? don't they pay for hosting services by the month, or don't they pay their power bill if they host themselves by the month like everyone else does??? i would have thought that most websites could have existed just fine without babysitting for weeks if not at least for a month... the only reason is spite, just like why they spent extra money to erect barricades at open air memorials in DC and other places... and why they paid extra for 24/7 guards blocking access to privately run restaurants on public property. and why they paid extra for cones and patrols to keep people from stopping on public highways to view mt. rushmore. it was all a big show, they only shutdown about 15% of the government anyway and just wanted to make everyone feel bad so they would be mad at those in congress who want to get spending under control.... its like the debt ceiling, they could have kept going for much longer without borrowing, especially with part of the government shutdown! there was no fear of defaulting on interest payments, those are actually much smaller than the monthly income from tax collections.

Killer bees (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180737)

Has the time come to replace the present US governmental system with a swarm of bees? The present system is clearly grade C!

Why Not Fund Things Individually? (2)

White Jesus (3032229) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180757)

what i don't understand is why government is funded by these large, all-inclusive funding bills. who spends money like that? what individual or organization of any kind(commercial, non-profit, religious, whatever) do you know that plans their entire yearly budget at once with a take-it-or-leave-it proposition? let every funding measure stand or fall on it's own.

Re:Why Not Fund Things Individually? (1)

amginenigma (1495491) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180915)

Governments whom have something to hide / or use as a bludgeoning weapon when they cannot get their way.

Screw the Republicans like I will try to. (0)

wisebabo (638845) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180795)

Not only am I upset as a strong supporter of the sciences but as an investor I took out some (fortunately) relatively inexpensive options to protect my portfolio against a possible catastrophic default on the debt (which would most likely caused the stock and bond markets to crash).

These options (betting the market would go down) were relatively inexpensive because most people thought the Republicans would blink which of course they did. However since I'm retired and most of my assets are in equities and bonds, I would've been very upset if there was a huge drop in the markets like the recent crash even if it was just a short term hit. Thus my insurance policy.

To (hopefully) teach these idiot assholes a lesson, I plan on donating an equal amount of money that I spent on my options to whoever is challenging them in the mid-term elections. Unfortunately, the real root of the problem is the gerrymandering of the districts which has concentrated the Tea Partiers into their district which has made them beholden only to the Tea Party's radical views. Short of a legal challenge, I don't know a bette way to influence these elections. Still it is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

May I suggest you do the same?

Not just the delegation to Australia (1)

Shag (3737) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180815)

During the shutdown, a hundred-some countries sent delegations to Kumamoto and Minamata, Japan, for the signing of the new global Minamata Convention on Mercury [mercuryconvention.org] , in which everybody agrees to reduce or eliminate production and use of mercury since it's toxic. US delegates were sent, but on a day-by-day basis. The wording of the Convention had been agreed, but some accompanying resolutions were hashed out on October 7 and 8. The Convention opened for signature on October 10 [www.iisd.ca] - but the US delegates had been told on the morning of October 9 to change their tickets and fly home. Presumably the US will sign sometime soon - we already have the world's strictest regulations on mercury, and getting lots of other countries to play by our rules is probably a good thing - but it never looks good to pull your delegation back in mid-week - and probably spend more doing so.

Fix it! (0)

Fuzzums (250400) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180823)

I don't get it.
There 's a lot of talk about how much this shut down has cost.

Shouldn't the discussion be about getting rid of that USD 17.000.000.000.000 debt??
That is only about USD 55.000 per inhabitant.

Do something about it. Seriously.

Typical Obamabot revisionist history (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180859)

All of these bills were sent to the Senate just before and during the shutdown. 57 House Democrats voted for these bills. One to provide pay to furloughed federal employees passed 407-0.

Harry Reid said our way or no way. They wanted a blank check. So who really shutdown the government?

        H.J.Res 70 â" National Parks, Monuments and Museums
        H.J.Res 71 â" District of Columbia
        H.J.Res 72 â" Veterans Benefits
        H.J.Res 73 â" National Institutes of Health
        H.J.Res 75 â" WIC
        H.J.Res 77 â" FDA
        H.J.Res 84 â" Head Start
        H.J.Res 85 â" FEMA
        H.J.Res 89 â" Federal Worker Pay
        H.J.Res 90 â" FAA
        H.R. 3223 â" Pay furloughed workers once the shutdown ends
        H.R. 3230 â" Pay the Guard and Reserve Act

Call bullshite on 20 days lost since Archimedes (1)

noshellswill (598066) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180865)

Twenty (20) days lost since  250-BC (Archimedes = 1st prof. scientist ?). Oh boo-hoo we gonna die of ignorance not a Roman sword-point!  Cancer patients die? Sure ... every day shoulda doubled the Bromptions! Pathetic cracked-eggism.  Shiffman can take his kommi thumb outa his *zzwhole (how did he get this slobbering crap published?) and watch over-entitled metro-lining science-laxrs krank up their iPods while lassoing escaped galooping Lagrangians  boo-hooo-hooo.

More Government ! (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45180889)

We need more government !
We need more government !
OMG where did the government go ?
Who shutdown the government we needed ?
Where did our government checks go ?
We need more government !

The cries of the hollow men.

The answer is obvious.

Stop creating government dependents.
Stop creating hollow men.

Who runs their own life this way? (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180911)

So here's a question. Let's say you happen to have a full time job that pays you $50k a year. On January 1, do you look at all the bills you know you're going to have for the entire year and all the things you want to buy and spend all of that money on January 1? Or do you take all the money you have to spend on bills and put it aside somewhere so you don't inadvertently spend it on something else like a Ferrari? Or do you deal with things one month at a time?

Does it occur to anyone (2)

John Jorsett (171560) | 1 year,10 days | (#45180945)

.... that this kind of dependence on government funding means that government will increasingly assert control over where and how research will be conducted in the future, and how (or whether) results will be reported? If your project's existence depends on a particular paymaster, are you really going to jeopardize it by angering him? Maybe you're okay with the present party in power, but if you give government this kind of control over your funding, sooner or later people with opposing ideas are going to be in charge and will use those same levers in ways you won't be happy with.

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